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Utah State basketball: Aggies hoping to resolve shooting woes

Published January 29, 2013 7:39 pm

College basketball • Missed open shots lead to four-game skid.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Looking at the postgame shot charts hasn't been a fun activity for Utah State recently.

In their four-game losing streak, the Aggies have shot only 38.5 percent from the floor, well below their season average of 46.9 percent. The most frustrating part is that good looks haven't been mysteriously elusive — they've been there for the taking.

"We've had a lot of guys miss open shots," coach Stew Morrill said at his Tuesday news conference. "We missed nine layups in the [Louisiana] Tech game — that will hurt your shooting percentage for sure."

It's been a troubling trend recently: Even when the shot looks open, the ball rattles out. While Jarred Shaw and Spencer Butterfield played one of their best games against the Bulldogs, the rest of the team made only two field goals.

It was a bit of a statistical extreme in Utah State's worst shooting game of the season, but nonetheless, the Aggies acknowledge something has to give.

"Last game I didn't score — actually I didn't do much at all," junior Marvin Jean said. "We just have to knock them down and be more aggressive. We're trying to get those open looks. If the 3-balls aren't falling, we have to get inside on them."

Utah State will have a chance to work on that against Idaho, an opponent that has fewer athletic defenders than some of the Aggies' recent foes. The Vandals have allowed 42.3 percent shooting from the floor, which is only eighth-best in the WAC.

But Idaho's own execution is among the league's best. The Vandals are shooting a conference-high 49.5 percent from the floor in WAC games. If the Aggies can't keep pace, a win will be a tough prospect.

Aggies ready for Round 2 with Idaho center

Utah State's first sparring session against Vandals star Kyle Barone went well. The preseason first-team WAC selection was held to 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting in an overtime win for the Aggies.

Going into Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday, Utah State will see perhaps an even tougher version of the 6-foot-10 center who is a headache in the middle. He's averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and 56 percent shooting for Idaho.

Last week, the senior averaged 26 points and 16 boards in two contests against Texas State and UTSA. Morrill acknowledged that Barone is playing as well as ever.

"Unbelievable weekened last weekend, just unbelievable," Morrill said. "This is a guy who has been a starter since he was a freshman, and every year he has gotten better. ... We have got to help some on him, and we have got to do a good job when we don't help."

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Aggies on the road this week

Thursday • at Idaho, 8 p.m.

Saturday • at Seattle,8 p.m.